Carly Ford

Coal City's Carly Ford wrestles Bethany Regione, of Schaumburg, in the 125-pound weight class in their match during the 2022 IHSA Girls Individual Wrestling State Finals in Bloomington.

Exactly 50 years after Title IX was enacted, women continued making history in their push for equality in athletics, and one of those women who made that history earlier this year is Carly Ford.

Ford, a 2022 Coal City High School graduate, was one of five girls from the area who qualified for the inaugural IHSA Girls Wrestling State Finals in February, joined by Kankakee’s Alejandra Cornejo and Estefany Mendez, Wilmington’s Dezirae Yanke and Reed-Custer’s Judith Gamboa.

After beginning her wrestling career in middle school as one of two wrestlers on her team, the only team on the Coal City schedule that even featured any girls, Ford saw plenty of growth on the girls side and respect from the boys side, as her career ended much different than it started, when opposing coaches would have their boys forfeit matches against her.

Mason Schweizer is an award-winning reporter who has been with the Daily Journal since 2017 and sports editor since 2019. Save for time at the University of Illinois and Wayne State College, Mason is a lifelong area resident.

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